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The BBC's Bill Thompson in his recent blog post about the state of IT development in the UK has hit the nail on the head

"Universities have seen applications for computer science degrees fall off, schools do not encourage students to do computing at GCSE and A Level and primary school children are trained as users not as programmers."

Recent reports from the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and CEBR (Centre for Economics and Business Research) indicate that skilled migration workers, specifically in IT and Telco sectors, will significantly contribute to the UK economy and be instrumental in its future growth. So why isn't this capability grown here? It's almost like government and business has actually given up as the direct labour cost is cheaper else where. What I find fascinating is the in-direct costs such as longer lead-times aren't measured so we have no idea how much of an impact that is having or how much of a competitive advantage we are giving away. E-Petition on the Number 10 UK Government website about providing better support for out of work software developers and IT workers adequately demonstrates the lack of interest for issues effecting developers by the lack of signatories where some more inconsequential petitions have a significant amount more. The diminishing amount of UK developers is just not seen as an issue of national concern when it is pretty clear that our economy utterly relies on technology.

 I feel this is a narrow sighted view not because I'm a complete xenophobe but as recent evidence suggests the cost of living is going up in the countries we are typically out-sourcing to, with rising inflation meaning wages will rise as a consequence. So as a prediction, cheaper offshore workforces are only going to be true for a period of time. Perhaps in as little as 10 years, wages will rise to a comparable rate between here and aboard nullifying the advantage of having an offshore but will we have sufficient development capability left in the UK to meet our economic needs or let it dwindle leaving us little choice.

So if we want to avoid this future wouldn't it seem prudent to incourage our young to take up carrers in computing now as protection for our future or as another option encourage IT workers from outside to settle here? Whatever option we chose, I believe we cannot afford to allow our development capability to diminish as it is a core skill which our economy does and will continue to depend.

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2008 8:54 AM Main , Development Technologies , Technical Architecture , Enterprise Architecture | Back to top

Comments on this post: Who Will Write Tomorrows Code?

# re: Who Will Write Tomorrows Code?
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UK should try Pennsylvania for outsourcing. My hourly rate is already lower than what the Indians are charging. I'm overwhelmed by all the work that is coming my way. With the dollar collapsing we can expect US wages to be more competitive.
Left by Robert S. Robbins on Apr 03, 2008 4:21 PM

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